Tonight I finished (mostly) two songs.

Revisited one that I’ve been working on for about a month and then hit on another one that’s been stewing for about a year. Funny thing, songs: some of them emerge like unexpected blooms over night; others buck and fight for days and months. Most of the time you give up when you can’t get the rhyme just right or (in my case) the story gets too loose and obtuse.

But you just don’t let go of them. Put ‘em down for a while, and turn aside and then come again from a different angle, a different perspective. Maybe it’s a groove, maybe it’s a new chord change. Just be patient and be aware of when to wrestle that sucker to the ground, and when to let him wander off like Sasquatch and wait for another chance to capture its secret, its essence.

How do you know when it’s done?

I know when I can sing it and I don’t get to a phrase or a line and pause and wonder, “Is that it?” I know when it just feels bulletproof, when the lyrics start to take a life of their own. They tell their own story, start to speak for themselves.


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